“We are here. We made a deal with these people. We are breaking our promise. We are killing these people. The blood of these people will be on modern Canada’s hands. And it will be as the result of not just a slow thing but of a fast and horrific thing if this continues.”
When Neil Young said these words in Toronto, Canada the other day he wasn’t thinking about Wisconsin and yet – if you know the bigger picture, you know that the words apply here too.
The story of Canada’s tribal lands intersects with Wisconsin’s at the point of broken promises past and present. This story also intersects at the tools used to extract tar sands oil and natural gas. The sand used for fracking in Canada is principally frac sand from Wisconsin and the same oil barons that bought Wisconsin government have been buying Canadian politicians.
I hope you’ll watch. This is only 2 minutes and 15 seconds.
Right now Neil Young and Diana Krall are travelling through Toronto, Winnipeg, Regina, and Calgary and performing concerts as a fundraiser for the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN).
They are now over half way to their goal of raising $75,000. Learn more at www.HonorTheACFN.ca.
The information below comes from the facebook page for the ACFN case against Shell Oil:
The Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) filed suit against Shell Oil Canada in September of 2011. Papers were served to Shell executives in November.
The Case against Shell arose from Shell not meeting contractual agreements made with ACFN in 2003 and 2006 regarding two open pit mining tar sands projects. Shell had made promises to provide adequate resources for the community to participate in mitigation discussion, to map out traditional areas and study potential impacts of Shell projects on sacred sites, and for the community to implement a community monitoring program.
After years of unmet agreements with Shell Oil, the Athabasca Chipewyan people decided to risk everything by challenging Shell’s practices and filing suit represented by Othuis Kleer Townshed Firm. The agreements in question were meant to ensure Shell would provide measures to lessen impact of these mines on ACFN, including agreements to address environmental issues and mitigation. Shell’s failure to meet these agreements with ACFN has led to harmful impacts on the environment and ACFN’s constitutionally protected rights and culture.
In addition to the lawsuit against Shell, ACFN also plans to oppose all future tar sands projects by Shell. Tar sands have been widely recognized as the most destructive project on earth because of the serious impacts on treaty and aboriginal rights, ecological destruction and global green house gas emissions (GHG). Shell is one of the largest players in the tar sands producing close to 20% of overall production. Shell Canada recently submitted proposals to expand its current tar sands operations and if approved, would more then double their production. This would translate into further encroachment of open pit mines on ACFN traditional lands, and into the pristine wilderness of the Pierre River, a previously untouched area.
The Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) is a Denesuline community based in Fort Chipewyan, Alberta. Its territory spans and includes lands within the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, the Lower Athabasca and North West Saskatchewan planning regions. Members of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation hold rights that are protected by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982 and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Since time immemorial and long before ACFN entered into Treaty, Denesuline Peoples of its region lived and continue to live and sustain themselves, their families and their community from Mother Earth and all that she provides. Denesuline Peoples had an intricate relationship with Mother Earth and customary practices allowed them to live in harmony with her as she kept their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being in balance. This relationship included customary practices that entailed the care of Mother Earth along with the ability for economic development and survival: the very essence of Denesołine culture and identity.
Industrialization of ACFN’s traditional territories has lead to the cumulative removal of lands, wildlife and fish habitat as well as the destruction of ecological, aesthetic and sensory systems. This will consequently affect Treaty promises, cultural and spiritual renewal, procurement of resources, and Denesuline Peoples connection and use of landscape that is integral to traditional use. In truth, the current industrialization occurring in North-eastern Alberta is putting ecosystems, the watersheds that sustain them, and the First Nations who depend upon them, at risk for large-scale impacts that will permanently change the biophysical and socio-cultural landscape of the region.
This industrialization has thrust the ACFN to the forefront of the tar sands controversy. Canada and Alberta’s elected leaders have been promoting tar sands development on ACFN traditional lands at a pace that appears irresponsible and irreparably destructive. Canada has avoided its duty to properly enforce the Fisheries Act, Navigable Waters Protection Act, Species at Risk Act, Constitution Act and Treaty No. 8. Alberta is actively changing its laws to pave the way for devastation of ACFN lands and rights. Throughout a vast tract of ACFN’s traditional territory the ecology is being completely destroyed in order to extract bitumen. Alberta has granted Shell Canada the rights to mine out the land to the boundaries of Poplar Point (Reserve 201G), in the heart of the ACFN homelands.